About the Coffee
Flavour description: A delicate and well-balanced cup. Notes of apricot and black tea with citric acidity and a hint of white flower.
Colour: Light lemon yellow
Producers: Hunkute. The cooperative has 2149 members.
Varietal: Indigenous wild varietals
Washing station: Hunkute Site 2
Location: Dalle, Sidamo
Union: Sidama Union, together with 69 other cooperatives.
Harvested: November 2019 - January 2020
Altitude: 2150 masl
Years of relationship: 9
Price transparency: We have paid US$3.70/lb FOB
Process: Fully washed. The coffee is pulped on the same day as harvested and then fermented for 72 hours. After that the coffee is separated by density in water channels, finally, the coffee is rinsed with clean water and dried on 20-25 days on raised beds before dried-milled.
Roast Style: We are roasting this coffee for vibrancy and clarity in the cup, with a light to medium roast profile.
Hunkute is a very special coffee for us at Drop Coffee. We have been buying it since 2011, and it is an important brick in our portfolio. The coffee is delicate and pretty, and there is no coffee just like it. Ethiopian coffee is in general special with their floral, tea-like taste profiles, the rural, beautiful country and the strong coffee culture. Hunkute is located in the Dalle region in Sidama and is made up of two washing stations where the coffee is being processed. After many years we managed to get this separated and are buying the coffee from Hunkute Site 2, located at 2150 meters.
Ethiopia and Yemen are the birthplaces of coffee. In Ethiopia there are over 1.1 million smallholder coffee farmers, delivering cherries to a cooperative or private washing station. In the region where coffee is growing, most people process roast and brew their coffee themselves. As a country, Ethiopia is consuming over 40% of what they are producing themselves, compared to Kenya where they keep less than 5% of all the coffee produced in the country.
Hunkute is two washing stations (Site 1 and Site 2) both belong to the Hunkute Cooperative, which is made up of 2149 members, the Hunkute Cooperative is connected to the Sidama Union.
Hunkute site 2, started seven years ago, they are collecting cherries from both the members of the cooperative and surrounding farmers who want to deliver their cherries to the washing station. Most farmers delivering to Hunkute site 2 have about half a hectare to two hectares with an average of 1500 trees per hectare. One tree in Ethiopia is typically producing cherries equal to less than 100 - 200 grams of green coffee. Throughout the year, organic fertilizer is common at the farms. Pruning of the trees is less common.
During the harvest period, from November to January, the farmers are collecting their coffee cherries every second week. The farmers in the area around Hunkute are helping each other with the harvest, circulating with the neighbouring farms. Many of the farmers are also working at the washing stations during harvest. A few farmers that have bigger farms are hiring local staff during the harvest.
The coffee needs to be mainly mature red to be considered as "Grade One". Cherries are hand sorted for unripe and overripe cherries by the farmers before they go into production. First, the coffee is de-pulped, meaning that the skin and pulp are removed from the beans by a machine. Then the beans are being fermented underwater for 72 hours. After that, the coffee is separated by density in water channels and rinsed with clean water. Before the water is going back to nature, the water is neutralized by filters to not harm nature. The coffee cherries are dried on 20-25 days on raised beds until it reads a moister level of 11 to 11.5%,
Hunkute cooperative belongs to Sidamo Union, who now has its own dry mill where the coffee is milled and graded before putting into protective bags and loaded on the containers.
Sustainability aspect - Payment and agriculture at Hunkute
Since Sidama is such a mecca in coffee the market is competitive for the cooperatives in the region. This is one of the reasons Hunkute is paying the farmers upfront daily during harvest (November-January) unless the farmer prefers to be paid differently. All of the volumes and coffee cherry prices are displayed. They also have a second payment based on the selling price which is being paid to the farmers very latest by August, which is a great difference compared to how late we've seen some farmers being paid when visiting different cooperatives in Ethiopia. In the Sidama Union, about 70% of the payment is going back to the farmers and the rest are for investments at the washing stations and the cooperative.
This year, we have paid a US$3.70/lb FOB for this coffee, the current c-market price is less than $1USD/lb FOB which is not sustainable as it doesn't cover the costs for the coffee production.
Being certified Organic and with UTZ and Fair Trade, helps the washing station to keep documents and reports of payments and data logging of the production. Hunkute and Drop Coffee are both certified organic, but due to a logistic error in the transport from Ethiopia to Sweden, we can not sell it as organic this year.